Less Than 1% of FinCEN’s Suspicious Activity Reports Since 2013 Mentioned Crypto
More than 70,000 crypto-related suspicious activity reports (SARs) have been filed since 2013, but the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a stark warning that some offshore companies may not be doing enough to stamp out illicit behavior. Less Than 1% of FinCEN’s Suspicious Activity Reports Since 2013 Mentioned Crypto
Speaking at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Distributed virtual conference on Wednesday, FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco said that around half of these reports were submitted by crypto companies themselves, allowing FinCEN to build a better map of IP and wallet addresses that are linked to potential criminals. Still, the figure represents just 0.59% of the more than 12 million reports FinCEN received between 2014 and 2019 (2013 figures were not immediately available).
Back in December, Blanco confirmed FinCEN received a total of 11,000 crypto-related SARs, with 7,100 filed by crypto companies themselves, between May and December 2019. In August 2018 FinCEN was getting as many as 1,500 filings every month.
FinCEN collects and analyzes data from across the financial sector in order to enforce the U.S.’ strict anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
While better monitoring from traditional financial institutions, as well as FinCEN’s improving expertise in covering the space itself, has made it easy to oversee the crypto space, Blanco said self-reporting from industry players themselves remains “paramount.”
But there were some unresolved issues. Some offshore crypto companies operated as unregistered money services businesses (MSB) with no proper AML policy or commitment to reporting suspicious activity.
“We are increasingly concerned that businesses located outside the United States continue to try to do business with U.S. persons without complying with our rules,” Blanco said. “If you want access to the U.S. financial system, and the U.S. market, you must abide by the rules. We are serious about enforcing our regulations.”
FinCEN is also beginning to look closely at privacy coins and any company offering them. Blanco added officials would also begin to inspect the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CTF) controls in place to ensure exchanges are acting in full compliance.
“If you’re going to avail yourself of the U.S. financial system from abroad, you should not consider it a viable competitive advantage to do so without engaging in the financial integrity practices that make this financial system so powerful,” he warned.
Criminal Activity In Crypto Transactions Fell Sharply In 2020, Says Chainalysis
Partly offsetting the positive trend is an explosion in ransomware attacks, which rose 311% from 2019.
Cryptocurrency investigation firm Chainalysis said cryptocurrency-related crime fell significantly in 2020 but remains appealing for criminals due to its anonymous nature.
* Chainalysis reports in 2020, cryptocurrency criminal activity fell to 0.34%, or $10.0 billion in transaction volume, compared with 2019, when criminal activity represented 2.1% of all transaction volume or roughly $21.4 billion worth of transfers.
* One of the reasons for the decline is due to overall economic activity nearly tripling between 2019 and 2020, but the overall amount of cryptocurrency-related crime is falling and is an even smaller part of the cryptocurrency economy, said the firm.
* Chainalysis highlighted scams were much smaller in 2020 compared to the enormous PlusToken Ponzi scheme in 2019, which took in over $2 billion from millions of victims.
* The majority of the cryptocurrency-related scams, around 54%, were made up of illicit activity followed by darknet markets which was the second-largest crime category, accounting for $1.7 billion worth of activity, up from $1.3 billion in 2019.
* Chainalysis said the “big story” for cryptocurrency-based crime in 2020 is the rise of ransomware which, while only accounting for 7% of all funds received by criminal addresses at just under $350 million worth of cryptocurrency, was up 311% from 2019. The number of ransomware incidents could even be higher due to the low reporting rate, the firm said.
* The COVID-19 pandemic has forced more people to work-from-home and in turn this has opened up new vulnerabilities to ransomware attacks for many organizations, said the firm.
Privacy Coin Firo Temporarily Disables Protocol To Investigate ‘Suspicious Transactions’
Core devs have activated their emergency switch to temporarily disable Lelantus.
The team behind the privacy coin Firo has identified multiple Lelantus transactions that are “suspicious,” according to project steward Reuben Yap. In response, developers have activated their emergency switch to temporarily disable Lelantus to give them time to investigate and identify the issue.
“Our core team is working with several parties, including engineers from Trail of Bits (who audited our Lelantus cryptographic library), another cryptographer and a black hat to identify the issue. We have made significant progress in narrowing down the cause and are working on a proof-of-concept code to verify that what we’ve found is the core issue before resuming Lelantus functionality. Our team is also determining a plan to restore Lelantus functionality with minimum impact.”
The Lelantus protocol was launched in mid-January 2021. It introduced “on-by-default” privacy and prompts users to anonymize their funds with the goal of ensuring transactions sent by official Firo wallets stay private. Transparent transactions will now have to be explicitly selected. It also allows for partial redemptions of Firo’s burn-and-redeem model, which previously had to be redeemed in full.
This is the second in a pair of challenges that has arisen since the launch on Jan. 14. Less than a week later, Firo experienced a 51% attack that forced it to push a hotfix to address the issue.
The Firo devs were able to disable the Lelantus protocol based on a previous vote that gave the core team the ability to temporarily “turn off and on features like Lelantus, chainlocks and instant send.”
“While we have taken practical precautions including audits and review, developing cutting-edge privacy tech comes with risk,” said Yap in last night’s post. “The safeguards we put in place in recognition of this has mitigated damage as the technology matures and becomes battle-tested.”
The Firo privacy coin is down 13.3% in the last 24 hours.
China Crypto Crime: Still ‘Top Ranked’ For Illicit Activity, But Crime Is Falling
Chinese wallets both sent and received more than $2 billion worth of crypto associated with illicit activities between April 2019 and June 2021.
A new report from Chainalysis has found that while China’s share of global criminal crypto flows has been falling since the third quarter of 2019, the country still represents a disproportionate amount of money laundering and scam activity.
In its Aug. 3 “Cryptocurrency and China” report, Chainalysis stated that more than $2.2 billion worth of crypto had been sent from Chinese wallets to addresses associated with illicit activity between April 2019 and June 2021.
Chinese addresses also received more than $2 billion worth of digital assets tied to nefarious activity such as scams and darknet marketplaces. Despite this, the report says crime has fallen significantly:
“China’s transaction volume with illicit addresses has fallen drastically over the time period studied, both in terms of raw value and in relation to other countries. Much of the drop is due to the absence of large-scale Ponzi schemes like the 2019 PlusToken scam.”
Chainalysis added, “While China remains one of the top-ranked countries for illicit transaction volume, it used to beat all others by a wide margin, suggesting that cryptocurrency-related crime in the country has fallen.”
The report’s authors cite “historical transaction data” as suggesting that Chinese over-the-counter (OTC) Bitcoin (BTC) brokers “have played an outsized role in facilitating money laundering for those involved in cryptocurrency-based crime.”
The report adds that the “vast majority” of illicit Chinese crypto flows have been associated with scam activity, although digital asset-based money laundering is still “disproportionately carried out in China.”
Chainalysis noted that China’s central government conducted more than 1,100 arrests associated with digital asset-based money laundering in June, indicating a willingness to crack down on the sector.
“It will be interesting to see whether the arrests lead to a drop in flows of illicit funds to China-based cryptocurrency businesses and OTC traders.”
However, Chainalysis speculates that China’s increasing moves to clamp down on traditional decentralized cryptocurrencies may undermine the nation’s status as a global crypto superpower moving forward.
The report attributes China’s renewed hostility toward decentralized crypto assets to its plans for widespread adoption of the digital yuan.
The IRS Has Seized $1.2 Billion Worth Of Cryptocurrency This Fiscal Year – Here’s What Happens To It
In June, the U.S. government casually auctioned off some spare litecoin, bitcoin and bitcoin cash.
Lot 4TQSCI21402001 — one of 11 on offer over the four-day auction — included 150.22567153 litecoin and 0.00022893 bitcoin cash, worth more than $21,000 at today’s prices. The crypto property had been confiscated as part of a tax noncompliance case.
This kind of sale is nothing new for Uncle Sam. For years, the government has been seizing, stockpiling and selling off cryptocurrencies, alongside the usual assets one would expect from high-profile criminal sting operations.
“It could be 10 boats, 12 cars, and then one of the lots is X number of bitcoin being auctioned,” explained Jarod Koopman, director of the IRS’ cybercrime unit.
Koopman’s team of IRS agents don’t fit the stereotypical mold. They are sworn law enforcement officers who carry weapons and badges and who execute search, arrest and seizure warrants. They also bring back record amounts of cryptocash.
“In fiscal year 2019, we had about $700,000 worth of crypto seizures. In 2020, it was up to $137 million. And so far in 2021, we’re at $1.2 billion,” Koopman told CNBC. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
As cybercrime picks up — and the haul of digital tokens along with it — government crypto coffers are expected to swell even further.
Interviews with current and former federal agents and prosecutors suggest the U.S. has no plans to step back from its side hustle as a crypto broker. The crypto seizure and sale operation is growing so fast that the government just enlisted the help of the private sector to manage the storage and sales of its hoard of crypto tokens.
Knowing What You Don’t Know
The 2013 takedown of Silk Road — a now-defunct online black market for everything from heroin to firearms — is where federal agents really cut their teeth in crypto search and seizure.
“It was totally unprecedented,” said Sharon Cohen Levin, who worked on the first Silk Road prosecution and spent 20 years as chief of the money laundering and asset forfeiture unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Silk Road, which operated on the dark web, dealt entirely in bitcoin. It was good for users, because it promised them some degree of anonymity. Despite the reputational hit, it was good for bitcoin at the time, helping to pump up its price by giving the token a use case beyond programming circles.
When the government began to dismantle Silk Road, federal agents had to figure out what to do with all the ill-gotten bitcoin.
“There was a wallet with approximately 30,000 bitcoin in it, which we were able to identify and seize. At the time, it was probably the largest bitcoin seizure ever, and it sold for around $19 million,” said Levin.
“No one had ever done anything like it. In fact, there weren’t really companies that you could go to in order to sell the assets. The Marshals Service stepped up and conducted their own auction of the assets where they took bids,” she said.
That bitcoin batch went to billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper. “It seemed like a large sum of money at the time, but if the government had retained those bitcoins, it would be worth way more today.”
The cache of coins sold in 2014 would be worth more than $1.1 billion as of Wednesday morning. But hindsight is 20/20, and the government isn’t in the business of playing the crypto markets.
What this entire exercise did accomplish, however, was to establish a workflow that remains in place today, one that uses legacy crime-fighting rails to deal with tracking and seizing cryptographically built tokens, which were inherently designed to evade law enforcement.
“I’ve just observed that the government is usually more than a few steps behind the criminals when it comes to innovation and technology,” said Jud Welle, a former federal cybercrime prosecutor of 12.5 years.
“This is not the kind of thing that would show up in your basic training. But I predict within three to five years … there will be manuals edited and updated with, ‘This is how you approach crypto tracing,’ ‘This is how you approach crypto seizure,’” Welle said.
″‘Follow the money’ is not new. Seizure is not new. What we’re just doing is trying to find a way to apply these tools and techniques to a new fact pattern, a new use case,” he said.
Chain Of Custody
There are three main junctures in the flow of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies through the criminal justice system in the U.S.
The first phase is search and seizure. The second is the liquidation of raided crypto. And the third is deployment of the proceeds from those crypto sales.
In practice, that first stage of the process is a group effort, according to Koopman. He said his team often works on joint investigations alongside other government agencies — think government arms such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security, the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“A lot of cases, especially in the cyber arena, become … joint investigations, because no one agency can do it all,” said Koopman, who worked on the two Silk Road cases and the 2017 AlphaBay investigation, which culminated in the closure of another popular and massive dark web marketplace.
Koopman explained that his division at the IRS typically handles crypto tracing and open source intelligence, which includes investigating tax evasion, false tax returns, and money laundering. Other agencies that have more money and resources focus on the technical components.
“Then we all come together when it’s time to execute any type of enforcement action, whether that’s an arrest, a seizure or a search warrant. And that could be nationally or globally,” he said.
During the seizure itself, multiple agents are involved to ensure proper oversight. That includes managers who establish the necessary hardware wallets to secure the seized crypto. “We maintain private keys only in headquarters so that it can’t be tampered with,” Koopman said.
Once a case is closed, the U.S. Marshals Service is the main agency responsible for auctioning off the government’s crypto holdings. To date, it has seized and auctioned more than 185,000 bitcoins. That cache of coins is currently worth nearly $7 billion, though many were sold in batches well below today’s price.
It’s a big responsibility for one government entity to take on, which is part of why the Marshals Service no longer shoulders the task alone.
The U.S. General Services Administration, an agency that typically auctions surplus federal assets such as tractors, added confiscated cryptocurrencies to the auction block earlier this year.
And just last week, following a more than yearlong search, the Department of Justice hired San Francisco-based Anchorage Digital to be its custodian for the cryptocurrency seized or forfeited in criminal cases. Anchorage, the first federally chartered bank for crypto, will help the government store and liquidate this digital property. The contract was previously awarded to BitGo.
“The fact that the Marshals Service is getting professionals to help them is a good sign that this is here to stay,” said Levin.
The process of auctioning off crypto, in blocks, at fair market value, likely won’t change, according to Koopman. “You basically get in line to auction it off. We don’t ever want to flood the market with a tremendous amount, which then could have an effect on the pricing component,” he said.
But other than spacing out sales, Koopman said, trying to “time” the market to sell at peak crypto prices isn’t a thing. “We don’t try to play the market,” he said.
In November, the government seized $1 billion worth of bitcoin linked to Silk Road. Because the case is still pending, those bitcoins are sitting idle in a crypto wallet. Had the government sold its bitcoin stake when the price of the token peaked above $63,000 in April, coffers would have been a whole lot bigger than if they liquidated at today’s price.
Where The Money Goes
Once a case is closed and the crypto has been exchanged for fiat currency, the feds then divvy the spoils. The proceeds of the sale are typically deposited into one of two funds: The Treasury Forfeiture Fund or the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund.
“The underlying investigative agency determines which fund the money goes to,” Levin said.
Koopman said the crypto traced and seized by his team accounts for roughly 60% to 70% of the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, making it the largest individual contributor.
Once placed into one of these two funds, the liquidated crypto can then be put toward a variety of line items. Congress, for example, can rescind the money and put that cash toward funding projects.
“Agencies can put in requests to gain access to some of that money for funding of operations,” said Koopman. “We’re able to put in a request and say, ‘We’re looking for additional licenses or additional gear,’ and then that’s reviewed by the Executive Office of Treasury.”
Some years, Koopman’s team receives varying amounts based on the initiatives proposed. Other years, they get nothing because Congress will choose to rescind all the money out of the account.
Tracking where all the money goes isn’t a totally straightforward process, according to Alex Lakatos, a partner with DC law firm Mayer Brown, who advises clients on forfeiture.
The Justice Department hosts Forfeiture.gov, which offers some optics on current seizure operations. This document, for example, outlines a case from May where 1.04430259 bitcoin was taken from a hardware wallet belonging to an individual in Kansas. Another 10 were taken from a Texas resident in April. But it is unclear whether it is a comprehensive list of all active cases.
“I don’t believe there’s any one place that has all the crypto that the U.S. Marshals are holding, let alone the different states that may have forfeited crypto. It’s very much a hodgepodge,” said Lakatos. “I don’t even know if someone in the government wanted to get their arms around it, how they would go about doing it.”
A Department of Justice told CNBC he’s “pretty sure” there’s no central database of cryptocurrency seizures.
But what does appear clear is that more of these crypto seizure cases are being trumpeted to the public, like in the case of the FBI’s breach of a bitcoin wallet held by the Colonial Pipeline hackers earlier this spring.
“In my experience, folks that are in these positions in high levels of government, they may be there for a short period of time, and they want to get some wins under their belt,” said Welle.
“This is the kind of thing that definitely captures the attention of journalists, cybersecurity experts, right, a lot of chatter around it.”
Bitcoin Can’t Be Viewed As An Untraceable ‘Crime Coin’ Anymore
Yes, some criminals use Bitcoin, but the innovation behind this technology improves the financial system.
Cryptocurrency is a new technology that has entered the common discourse, setting the stage for a complete upheaval of our long-established financial systems. Of course, some skepticism is unavoidable.
Crypto’s association with criminality adds to this shared sense of skepticism. There is no denying that cryptocurrency has and continues to be used for illicit activities across the globe. Having said this, with the use and applicability of crypto becoming increasingly commonplace, the narrative that its creation has facilitated mass criminality needs to be addressed.
First Impressions Count
Bitcoin (BTC) was introduced as a bartering tool on Silk Road, a notorious online black market. Criminals-for-hire being among Bitcoin’s first users inflicted reputational damage. Coupled with the mysterious origins of Bitcoin, being that nobody actually knows where it came from or who invented it, public preconceptions of this new form of money were understandably unfavorable. Fast forward to 2021, and El Salvador’s citizens are encouraged to use Bitcoin specifically to buy groceries and pay utilities.
For the majority of onlookers, crypto moved abruptly from its deep ties with the darkest parts of the internet to creating a brighter future for citizens of developing countries. This was the result of a vast amount of experimentation, blossoming use cases and continued investment. However, for many outside observers, El Salvador’s adoption marks a minuscule positive use of an otherwise tainted technology. In failing to address the reputational damage caused by Bitcoin’s origins, the industry facilitates continued blockades between further positive use cases for crypto.
Educating the public on the actual benefits of cryptocurrency would not only benefit the industry in the short term but would allow for the continued systemic innovation and growth of blockchain technology. BTC is the poster child for blockchain, and tackling misconceptions about the digital asset is a huge and necessary step that regulators and the wider industry have, as yet, failed to acknowledge.
As it stands, any questions the public has about the links between crypto and crime are answered by sensational headlines, which detail a narrative of criminals continually utilizing BTC, rather than the many positive advancements happening in the wider blockchain space. A shared understanding of the actual cryptographic technology that facilitates cross-border, peer-to-peer payments is vital in dismantling the narrative around Bitcoin and severing the links between crypto and crime.
Dismantling The Narrative
Bitcoin is not an untraceable, anonymous, malicious tech used by hackers and nefarious crime syndicates. It is a decentralized, fully traceable, secure peer-to-peer payment system built on the blockchain. While the digital currency can be created, moved and stored outside the control of any government or financial institution, each payment is recorded in a permanent fixed ledger.
That means all cryptocurrency transactions, including Bitcoin, are out in the open. In other words, the anonymity associated with crypto and crime is unfounded. Earlier this summer, United States investigators were able to trace Bitcoin worth more than $4 million that the Colonial Pipeline had paid to the hackers during an attack. This not only highlights the traceability of cryptocurrencies but proves that the common assumption of anonymity is incorrect.
The issue, illustrated by the Silk Road and other illicit activities facilitated by Bitcoin, is in the law’s inability to catch criminals who are using cryptocurrency.
This is changing, and the playing field is becoming increasingly level. In the United Kingdom, British police seized around $155 million worth of Bitcoin from a criminal gang, highlighting the expansion of policing capabilities. The real-world examples of police tracing BTC transactions dismantle the idea that Bitcoin is an untraceable “crime coin.” Like fiat currency, it is simply a tool used by criminals.
Although the number of ransomware attacks linked to crypto seems staggering, it is dwarfed by comparison to the use of fiat currencies in similar crimes. In 2020, the criminal share of all cryptocurrency activity fell to just 0.34%. In comparison, 2% and 5% of global gross domestic product ($1.6 million to $4 trillion) annually is connected with money laundering and illicit activity. Considering the untraceability and anonymity associated with physical cash, and the continued improvement of policing capabilities, it is clear that the continued vilification of crypto is unwarranted.
Some of this vilification of cryptocurrency follows a naturally occurring public reaction to technological innovation. In the early days of the internet, many criticized the idea of an interconnected World Wide Web, detailing a myriad of societal impacts that resulted from the global expansion of the information superhighway. In some ways, the internet still facilitates new forms of crime. Its reputation, however, remains unstained, to the point where society would struggle to function without it. The internet completely severed its reputational association with criminality; it is assumed that crypto will do the same.
Crypto’s Benefits Are Being Drowned Out
These links with criminality have been considered a notable cause for concern among financial institutions as decentralized technology continues to become mainstream. Some institutions, like the Central Bank of Turkey, that cited criminality concerns over crypto have outright banned cryptocurrency transactions, illustrating how the false criminality narrative is harming the overall expansion and adoption of an extremely beneficial technology.
In El Salvador, a country torn apart by criminality, digital assets offer respite for citizens amid a low-income economy. The elimination of banking costs, and the low transaction fees and accessibility spawned by the use of Bitcoin, may transform the daily lives of many Salvadorans.
In Venezuela, BTC and other cryptocurrencies are helping the country regenerate its economy from crippling hyperinflation. These benefits of crypto adoption showcase the huge potential of mass cryptocurrency acceptance that is evidently thwarted by the consistent barriers created by the crypto crime narrative.
In some ways, crypto represents the wider blockchain industry, highlighting another significant issue associated with the vilification of digital assets. Blockchain can create systems where peers can lend to peers, preventing intermediaries from controlling financial processes, making finance more accessible for everyone.
Additionally, the myriad technological innovations associated with the wider blockchain ecosystem that are set to benefit society must continue to battle against the false assumption that blockchain-based digital assets are creating crime.
As this battle continues, the early adopters of crypto pave the way forward, generating influential advocacy for the future of digital assets. AXA Insurance is allowing customers to pay their bills using BTC, Visa will soon accept cryptocurrency to settle transactions on its payment network, Amatil, the Asia-Pacific distributor for Coca-Cola, has enabled cryptocurrency payments for its suppliers, and luxury brands have committed to using blockchain for supply chain management.
This is coupled with investments in Bitcoin from major financial institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and BlackRock.
Paving The Way Forward
Fundamentally, the overall consensus about crypto is perpetuated by the news cycle and a lack of shared understanding. From this, we can attest to two things: crypto is scaring a lot of people for the wrong reasons, and many regulators are scrambling to hinder its growth. Lawmakers want to create strict regulation around crypto to stamp out the anonymity associated with crypto transactions. But this demonstrates their lack of understanding of how crypto works.
This lack of understanding is evidently common among regulators like Rep. Bill Foster, who in a recent interview spoke about the strong “sentiment in Congress that if you’re participating in an anonymous crypto transaction, you are a de facto participant in a criminal conspiracy.” Yet Congress is not to blame for its members’ ill-informed ideas about crypto. Furthermore, if regulators and lawmakers are considerably out of touch with the tech, then how can everyday people be expected to understand anything about crypto that they aren’t being told?
Overall, what is needed is acceptance. Cryptocurrency, and the technology behind it, is being used to create opportunities and technological advancements in all areas of society, from healthcare to finance. Yes, some criminals use Bitcoin. However, as an industry we have a responsibility to share the good news and spread the true value of cryptocurrencies. Regulators must forgo the idea that banishing new technology will make all their troubles disappear. Legitimizing the technology and accepting the future will allow continued innovation in cybercrime prevention, aiding mass adoption and ultimately severing the untrue idea that crypto is inexcusably linked to crime.
Swedish Gov’t Pays Out $1.5M In Bitcoin To Convicted Drug Dealer
The Swedish prosecutor had argued in court that the man should be stripped of his illicitly earned Bitcoin at the equivalent value in fiat currency at the time of his conviction.
The Swedish government has found itself in the unforeseen situation of paying out around $1.5 million worth of Bitcoin (BTC) to a convicted — and then jailed — drug dealer.
Two years ago, the man was convicted in a Swedish court for having illegally earned 36 Bitcoin through online drug sales. Yet, Tove Kullberg, his prosecutor at the time, had used the Bitcoin’s equivalent value in fiat to make her case. The court, therefore, judged that the man should be stripped of his illicitly earned Bitcoin at its then-value of 1.3 million Swedish kronor ($100,000).
In the period following the man’s conviction and imprisonment, his crypto stash had appreciated to such an extent that the Swedish Enforcement Authority, tasked with auctioning off the 36 BTC, needed to sell off just 3 BTC to satisfy the court’s demands.
That now leaves 33 BTC, worth $1.5 million, which must be lawfully returned to its owner. Speaking to Swedish radio, Kullberg said that the way she chose to argue her case was, in retrospect, “unfortunate in many ways […] It has led to consequences I was not able to foresee at the time.” She added:
“The lesson to be learned from this is to keep the value in Bitcoin, that the profit from the crime should be 36 Bitcoin, regardless of what value the Bitcoin has at the time.”
Kullberg also stressed that as cryptocurrency continues to become ever more widely adopted, prosecution authorities would do well to invest in educating their workforce in the details of the industry. “The more we increase the level of knowledge within the organization, the fewer mistakes we will make,” she said.
Cryptocurrencies — whether due to their volatility or technical design — continue to challenge legal authorities and procedures worldwide. In the United Kingdom, a government-sanctioned task force recently proposed a dispute resolution framework that would help standardize the means of dealing with smart contract disputes. Due to the non-recognition of Bitcoin as legal tender or its surrogate, a Russian court last year ruled against restituting stolen crypto to the victim of a major crime.
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